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The molecular diversity of many gene products functioning in the nervous system is enhanced by alternative splicing and adenosine-to-inosine editing of pre-mRNA. Using RDL, a Drosophila melanogaster GABA-gated ion channel, we examined the functional impact of RNA editing at several sites along with alternative splicing of more than one exon. We show that alternative splicing and RNA editing have a combined influence on the potency of the neurotransmitter GABA, and the editing isoforms detected in vivo span the entire functional range of potencies seen for all possible edit variants expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. The extent of RNA editing is developmentally regulated and can also be linked to the choice of alternative exons. These results provide insights into how the rich diversity of signaling necessary for complex brain function can be achieved by relatively few genes.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





4287 - 4292


Age Factors, Alternative Splicing, Amino Acid Sequence, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drosophila Proteins, Drosophila melanogaster, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Gene Expression, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Membrane Potentials, Microinjections, Mutation, Oocytes, Patch-Clamp Techniques, RNA Editing, Receptors, GABA-A, Xenopus laevis, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid